India reportedly to appoint ‘China expert’ as new ambassador, ‘unlikely to bring immediate changes to bilateral ties’
Published: Nov 16, 2021 12:03 AM
China India File photo

China India File photo

Pradeep Kumar Rawat, a diplomat dubbed by Indian media as a "China expert," is reportedly to become India's new ambassador to China. The potential appointment should not be over-interpreted, and is not likely to bring immediate changes to China-India relations, experts told the Global Times. 

If the appointment of a new ambassador does happen as reported, it is a regular action which should not be over-interpreted, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Monday. 

The current Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri was appointed the position in September 2018, which is the usual cycle for the Indian government to make new appointments. 

Rawat, currently Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, will be India's new envoy to China, Hindustan Times reported on Sunday, using the title of "China expert." 

According to public information, he served in Hong Kong and Beijing between 1992 and 1997, and started his second tenure in Beijing in 2003 as Counselor and ended in 2007 as Deputy Chief of Mission. He is also fluent in Putonghua. Indian media said he is "calm by nature" and has "extensive knowledge on the bilateral relations between China and India."

Although the appointment has not been confirmed, observers pointed out even if India sends a "China expert" envoy to Beijing, it is not likely to bring immediate changes to China-India relations. 

"A new ambassador appointment will not be a major factor to facilitate the two countries' relations," Qian noted. "The facilitation of bilateral relations still depends on the Indian government's mindset toward China."

Nonetheless, Rawat has witnessed the period when China-India relations were in a good shape, and he would realize that a good bilateral relation with is good for India's development, Qian said, in hope that the successor could play a positive role pushing forward the development of China-India bilateral relations.

"As a diplomat knowing China, he understands cooperation benefits both sides while confrontation hurts both countries," Qian said.

In recent years, China and India have been facing fractions over the borders, as the two countries have different territory claims and even broke out armed conflicts. 

In October, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Western Theater Command released a statement saying that China has made tremendous efforts to ease and calm the border situation, while India insisted on unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations.